Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Advent 3b - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
I don’t know about you but there are very few things I do that can be followed by “always” or “unceasing” or “in all circumstances”; except sin, of course, but maybe that doesn’t count because it comes so naturally. I’m actually a little suspicious of those who claim to live this text and that behind all the smiles and the God is so good alleluias are lives of utter desperation wrapped in praise the Lord pastels. (BTW this is not an autobiographical post. I look best in Advent blue.) Rejoice always and give thanks in all circumstances. Really? Isn’t that called denial? There are times when the most faithful response is a lament that curses the darkness. Which is why God’s will cannot be that we manage this on our own but rather depend fully on the One who sanctifies and keeps us sound in every and all circumstances. So rejoicing can happen even when we have every reason to weep and giving thanks can take place even when we have every reason to lament and prayers can happen always because the “Spirit intercedes for us with groans words cannot express.” (Romans 8:26) Not denial but acceptance that even in the worst of times the promise of God to be present is more than enough reason to give thanks.

1 comment:

  1. Of course you are right. God wants us to be real, and most of us live in the spiritual plains and valleys of life most of the time. But, I still really like 1 Thessalonians. Paul compares his time there to a nursing mother caring for her children, but to me it’s more like a coach covering some of the basic x's and o's of the game and then giving an encouraging pep talk. It tells us something about Paul the pastor - about a very early attempt at teaching Christianity 101, and maybe even being a bit pleased with the results.
    As idealistic and unattainable as some of it seems, it can be encouraging or maybe even motivating to have the bar set high.